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A Million Things Reader’s Guide

By Emily Spurr

A Million Things by Emily Spurr


Reader’s Guide
A Million Things by Emily Spurr
Discussion Questions:

1.   How do you see the relationship between Splinter and Rae? Is he her protector? An extension of her? Her dependent (someone who needs her and keeps her going)? Or something else?

2.   The character of Rae’s mother, though central to the book, is never seen directly by the reader; we see her only through Rae’s memories and thoughts. What sort of picture of Rae’s mother do you, as the reader, form from this perspective?

3.   Why do you think the author might have chosen to show you Rae’s mother in this way?

4.   The theme of home is strong in this novel. How do each of the characters Rae, Lettie and Oscar differ or coincide in their experiences of, and relationship to, home?

5.   Consider what is unsaid in Rae’s narration. Do you think there are insights to be gained into Rae’s character and thoughts by what she does not say or address? If so, what do you think the reader can learn from the things Rae leaves unsaid?

6.   Rae has a strong reaction to Lettie’s relationship with her son, Chris. What parallels do you think Rae might be drawing between Lettie’s relationship boundaries with Chris and Rae’s relationship with her own mother?

7.   What do you think about Rae’s reaction when she first sees Lettie’s cleaned house? What do you think is behind Rae’s response?

8.   Briar Rose/Sleeping Beauty and the overgrown garden are reoccurring motifs in the novel. How do you feel these ideas tie in with Rae’s situation and the extended in-between, or transitional, space in which she finds herself?

9.   A Million Things deals with deep loss, grief and mental illness. Do you believe these topics are presented in a realistic way? How did you react to these themes?

10. What was your interpretation of the overall tone of the book? Was it sad? Hopeful? Or something else?

11.  What are your thoughts about Lettie’s future? Do you feel the implication at the end of the novel is that things will be better for her? Or is it that her life will go back to the way it was? Which one of these outcomes do you think is more likely, based on your reading of the book?
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